Can the Rangers bounce back after last night’s game?

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Exhausting. Thrilling. Harrowing. Spectacular. One of the reasons I’m having such a hard time writing about Game 6 today is because the adjectives we’ve developed over the thousands of years of human speech are rather insufficient. I’m still reeling myself.

But one question some people have asked me today is how on Earth, after coming within one strike of winning the World Series last night, only to fritter it away on multiple occasions, can the Rangers bounce back?  My response to that is: what, are you crazy?

Nothing in this World Series has gone as expected. Nothing can be predicted based on the previous game’s results. I would just as soon predict that the Rangers will activate Nolan Ryan and the Cardinals will active Bob Gibson and we’d have an exact reenactment of Game 7 from 1991 than I would predict that the Rangers would be unable to muster the emotional energy necessary to win tonight.

Remember 1986? After Buckner? The Red Sox had a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning in Game 7.  Yes, they lost, but the “oh, they’re devastated” narrative didn’t hold up.  Tired bullpens, the Mets execution and the Red Sox’ lack thereof is what decided that game, not momentum.  To suggest otherwise is to impose a storyline we want to impose, not to reflect what happened. Or what we can at least accurately ascertain happened.

And so is the case tonight.  Not having Derek Holland at the ready is going to be a way taller order for the Rangers to overcome than shell shock from Game 6.  The fact that they’re on the road and that the home team has won the last eight Game sevens will matter more than shell shock too (though that’s not a predictive thing either).  The Rangers’ defense — if as bad as it was in Game 6 — will play a huge role too.

But let’s save the drama-spinning for a while, OK?

Aaron Judge set a new postseason strikeout record

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For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:

The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).

It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: